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Below are jpegs of paintings from "Paintings from the Edge - Of Extinction" - a March 2008 Solo Show at Gallery 1313, Toronto Canada

Media coverage of the show and artist's statement, click here.


· Click on image to enlarge. ·

Extinct I

2006, acrylic/canvas 4'7"w x 6'h

Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB


Extinct II

2006, acrylic/canvas 4'7"w x 6'h

Aerial view of Horseshoe Canyon


Extinct III

2007, acrylic/canvas 6'w x 4'7h

Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB


Extinct IV

2007, acrylic/canvas 6'w x 4'7h

Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB


Extinct V

2007, acrylic/canvas 4'7"w x 6'h

Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB


Extinct VI

2007, acrylic/canvas 12'w x 4'7"'h

From the canyon at Steveville just outside Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB

· Click on image to enlarge. ·

Below are a couple of articles from the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail about the Mar 2008 : "Paintings from the Edge - Of Extinction"; Solo Show at Gallery 1313, Toronto which featured the paintings from the Extinct series along with the painting "The Canary (Toad) Has Dropped"

The Globe and Mail
March 29, 2008

Aesthetic pleasure, and an urgent message

Gary Michael Dault
garymdault@sympatico.ca

Diane White at Gallery 1313
1313A Queen St. W., Toronto; 416-536-6778

Shortly before going to see Diane White's exhibition, Paintings from the Edge of Extinction, at Toronto's Gallery 1313, I opened my computer only to have CNN inform me that a shelf of ice "the size of Connecticut" had broken off Antarctica - a companion chunk to other recently detached mega-floes "the size of Manhattan" and "the size of Rhode Island." .

I mention this because it was an apt if gloomy prelude to viewing the paintings from White's Extinct Series that make up this beautiful and disturbing exhibition. For White's 2006 exhibition at Gallery 1313, the Toronto-based artist and environmental activist showed paintings specifically about the threatened Arctic. Her current exhibition, an extension of the earlier one, is even more all-encompassing in its concerns. For here, having located her paintings in Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park, White has set about, as she puts it in her statement of purpose, incorporating "prehistory into the present" and also showing the potential impact of the present on the future.

It's a large undertaking, and White's procedure is disarming in that her paintings appear at first to offer the kind of open-handed innocence you might expect to find in any well-made, picturesque landscape.

These badlands paintings are chromatically ravishing: Creamy, golden-pinkish landforms languish under brilliantly washed, hard blue skies. Everywhere, there is lightness and a residual warmth that White has somehow managed to transfer from sun-baked rock to lush pigment.

But then you begin to "read" the paintings - and all escapist reverie ends. In what way are they readable? In the least subtle way possible: The paintings have captions, language-imbued borders and stencilled texts that carry White's urgent message. In a magnificent painting like The Canary Toad Has Dropped Back to the Forest (sinewy, Matisse-pink trees in a blue wilderness), the title runs across the painting's bottom like a subtitle in a foreign film.

In addition, there is a stencilled text running up one side that adds some important information: "Golden Toad - First Species Extinct as a Result of Climate Change." The painting's power comes from its doubleness: from the big joyful breath of aesthetic pleasure the painting provides so bountifully and, at the same time, the self-cancellation generated by the modifying text.

Some of these exquisite and urgent paintings have recourse to something close to a badlands surrealism: In Extinct III (reproduced here), the sunny, metal-hard sky is full of pale blue teeth (like feral clouds), while at the bottom of the painting, the artist's X-ray vision has chosen to reveal the primeval bones that now stand as a symbol for the fate that awaits us all in our rush to what White sees as our "self-imposed annihilation."



The Toronto Star
Mar 29, 2008

At the galleries

Peter Goddard

For Diane White, Earth Hour has been ticking away for some time – nearly since the beginning of time, in fact.

The title of her show, "Paintings from the Edge – Of Extinction" (Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen St. W.,) summarizes the veteran Toronto artist's rage at the "scope and rapidity of destruction" on the planet.

The paintings – ochre-brushed glaciated Alberta foothills so desiccated looking you can practically taste ancient dust – resulted from the artist's visit to Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park with its "remote, harsh, desolate, austere and extraordinary" appearance, as she says. Sharply articulated crevices give the land's end the look of claws scratching at the substratum.

These are landscapes with attitude, politically energized, cautionary posters with the painter's marginalia warning that what you're seeing is "the cost of procrastination" or "wholesale destruction." "Make the connection," shouts text stretched along a band that frames the landscape within a landscape.

The pursuit of "vanishing landscapes" has taken her from Baffin Island to Vancouver Island. But you sense the dinosaur park tweaked a more exposed nerve with "these vast, prehistoric dinosaur graveyards," she writes in her artist's statement. "It's not difficult to see the connection between the unexplained demise of the dinosaur and the future of the planet.

"I am a landscape painter but in good conscience, I cannot, while painting the incredible landscapes I have observed across Canada, ignore the political consequences of our actions and how our lifestyles have contributed to the alarming environmental destruction evident."

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Artist's Statement for Extinct Series of Paintings

Series Title : Extinct

Warm ochres, siennas, sandstone, sage, and cobalt skies vibrating with heat and energy: The American southwest? No! Canada’s west. Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. Remote, harsh, desolate and austere; extraordinary vista’s unfolding before your eyes. Colour and landscape challenging the viewer. Taking the camera and sketchbook, I ventured forth gathering information and listening to the whispers of the past floating down through the ravines and coulees. The emotional impact of the area was evident wherever you trekked. Ancient burial grounds, mesas, sloughs, hoodoos and caves: unusual landscape, layers of history and colour overwhelming the senses. The spirit of the area is an integral part of the landscape.

The Challenge - obviously the landscape
The Challenge - incorporating the prehistory into the present, and the present impacting the future
The Challenge - will homo sapiens become part of the graveyards of the future given the destructive path we are following? Observing these vast prehistoric dinosaur graveyards it’s not difficult to see the connection between the unexplained demise of the dinosaur and our future on this planet.

My paintings have four important physical elements: central landscape panel, borders, text and the title. Though separate, these components are dependent on each other to project my particular vision. The central landscape panel represents the present, the immediate impression. Borders - to contain, to conceal. The borders in my previous paintings were clearly defined and imprinted with text and symbolic images protesting environmental degradation. My current borders now intrude and impact the central panel. Images float across the canvas - what was once order now becomes disorder. Chaos. Not unlike the effects of the acceleration towards irreversible environmental damage, we hear about on an almost daily basis. The images and text in the borders point at a dramatic pre-historic species collapse and raise the spectre of the possibility of oncoming homo sapien demise.

I am a landscape painter, but in good conscience, I cannot, while painting the incredible landscapes I have observed across Canada, ignore the political consequences of our actions and how our lifestyles have contributed to the alarming environmental destruction evident, witnessed and documented by common observers and scientists alike. The scope and rapidity of destruction is unprecedented in the earth’s 4.5 billion year old history. And unlike any other marches to extinction, this one is being prompted by greed, ignorance and inaction.

Diane White
March 2008

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© Diane White, 2008